German court cites earthquake concerns in blocking Bayer CO pipeline

25 May 2011 17:34  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--A court in Dusseldorf, Germany, on Wednesday ruled against allowing Bayer to start up its controversial carbon monoxide (CO) pipeline project to connect two production sites in North Rhine-Westphalia state.

The court ruled that the responsible state planning authority, Bezirksregierung Dusseldorf, had not done enough to assess the pipeline’s safety in case of an earthquake.

Private citizens and property owners had brought a lawsuit against the authority’s planning decision. They fear that in case of a leakage the pipeline could pose a risk to some 140,000 nearby residents.

Bayer MaterialScience said it would review the court’s decision.

However, the company noted that the court’s ruling confirmed, “in principle”, the pipeline’s high safety standards.

Construction of the pipeline, which started in 2007, is completed. The project will ship surplus CO from Bayer’s production site in Dormagen to its site in Krefeld-Uerdingen.

Bayer said the pipeline had been built on the basis of valid planning permits.

In addition, the North Rhine-Westphalia state had repeatedly backed the project in the past, it said.

The project is of significance for the state as a site for chemical production, the company added.

A Bayer MaterialScience offical told ICIS last week that the company's plans for a 300,000 tonne/year toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) project at Dormagen do not directly depend on whether or not the CO pipeline will be allowed to start up.

In related news, a court in Stuttgart last month halted work on parts of a 360km (224 miles) ethylene pipeline project in southern Germany because of safety concerns.

For more on Bayer and other producers visit ICIS company intelligence

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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